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How To Sleep When You’re Afraid

– by Seth McDevitt

It is happening again. Lit by the soft chartreuse glow of a baby monitor, my mind will not allow me to close my eyes. I am scared. I know that if I close them, I might not open them again. 

I try to comfort myself with the fact that my family will be alright. I have life insurance, enough so that they will be okay. If she is smart with the money, and she would be, she would not have to work. She could stay at home with the kids. Still, no sleep. Maybe theology will help. I do trust God. I trust the Lord of Heaven to do what is right. I am a good enough Calvinist to know that He is under no obligation to wake me. I am aware that were I to die, it would be just and right and ultimately for the good of my family and God’s glory, but I still cannot draw the curtain on the day. 

There is a very Christian way to expect death and, even in one sense, to long for it. Richard Sibbes once preached, “Why should we then fear death, that is but a passage to Christ? It is but a grim sergeant that lets us into a glorious palace, that strikes off our bolts, that takes off our rags, that we may be clothed with better robes, that ends all our misery, and is the beginning of all our happiness.”

Amen, Richard, but as good as your sermon is, and it may be the best sermon I have ever read, you failed to adequately address the one thing that truly scares me: the weirdness. The weirdness of closing my eyes in one world and opening them in another. The fact that it is a more glorious world and that I will be in the presence of Christ does not dampen the weirdness of that transformation.


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How to Sleep When You’re Afraid

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